What Did Joseph’s Runway Show in London Smell Like?

The fragrance masterminds behind 12.29 filled us in on that particular scent.

The Joseph show at London Fashion Week (Photo: Stuart C. Wilson/Getty Images)
The Joseph show at London Fashion Week (Photo: Stuart C. Wilson/Getty Images)

With the instant availability of fresh-off-the-runway images and a flood of social media posts from the front row, fashion lovers behind their computer screens might question what they’re really missing out on during fashion month. They can see the clothing in intimate detail without a fellow show-goer obstructing their view with a hefty camera or an iPhone and they don’t have to move from their computer chair (let alone dash across city streets) to view collection after collection.

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Having been in both of those positions in regards to viewing a runway show, I’d take the up close and personal experience over the digital one. While collections like Misha Nonoo’s Insta show are appreciated, if not for their creativity but also for their ease, for me, it all boils down to experience. Even if that means sitting in the back row at Michael Kors or standing through Givenchy, even with an hour-long delay.

Editors always mention that moment right before the models emerge from backstage, perfectly styled and carefully coiffed, as the best moment of the show. But I personally prefer the moment that the designer bows in front of a crowd, beaming from ear to ear. I also just enjoy the experience; peering down at my invite to make sure I’ve arrived at the right seat and using Shazam to take note of the best soundtracks, in addition to seeing the clothes as they make their debut. I also love the scent of shows.

Yes, this is a detail that designers have devoted both time and money into perfecting. Fragrance firm 12.29 is a master of scenting runway shows and presentations, in addition to stores and showrooms for fashion brands around the globe. Founded by identical twins, Samantha and Dawn Goldworm, the firm has created olfactive experiences for the likes of Zac Posen, Jason Wu, Rodarte and a handful of other designers. Via email, the Goldworn sisters told us what they had in mind for the Joseph runway show, which bowed in London over the past weekend.

What scent did the Joseph team, specifically creative director Louise Trotter, request for this show? As inspiration for the scent, Louise and I discussed various aspects of her concept for the Spring/Summer 2016 collection for Joseph. These details included the color palette, texture associations, emotional resonance and overall vision of the season.

Does the scent have a name? The scent is called, “Cream.”

Can you elaborate on what the scent smells like? I focused on the neutral color palette, deconstructive and slightly masculine long silhouette, and bare emotional state that reflected a somewhat romantic aesthetic [in] an almost clinical space. These subtle contrasts led to a scent that plays with an iris flower – clean, powdery, wet and slightly green, juxtaposed with arid, dry, very textural industrial wood notes.

Why is it important for a designer to scent their show? The scent of a show is the final piece of the experience. A scent heightens the emotion, turns up the music, brightens the lights and brings the moment to life.

What part of the room do you scent? We scent the entire space.

How long did it take to develop this scent? We developed the scent for the Joseph collection in about 90 days.

What other designers did you work with on a scent this season? This season we also created scents for Zero + Maria Cornejo, Studio 189 and Alison Lou.

Do you ever create a more permanent reminder of the scent you created for a show, the form of a candle or a spray? No, as the scent is only for that specific collection. However, we often scent the designer showroom after the show to remind press and buyers of the show experience.

What Did Joseph’s Runway Show in London Smell Like?